Tonight kicks off a weekend of lots of fun activities for us. Baseball games, birthday parties and anniversary celebration combined with sunshine and our favorite family and friends usually means appetizers to nibble on and relaxing beverages to sip on!
And we're enjoying this fabulous Rhubarb Salsa tonight! With Cinco de Mayo just a week away, we've got to start getting our salsa vibe on, and this surprising twist on traditional salsa is so fresh and flavorful that it is disappearing like magic!
HOW CAN IT BE POSSIBLE that the NFL draft kicks off tonight? It's like a major holiday around here! And hopefully the fans around here won't be crying too much about our draft choices - they certainly won't be crying over the little treat Mama V will be preparing for tonight's big event!
This little appetizer is the perfect game day snack or even dinner - sweet, salty, spicy with just a little bit of kick! And all we need are some icy cold beers and we'll be ready!
It's summer-springtime, and the living is easy! Sunny, warm and in the 70's? Yes, I do believe we'll be grilling tonight! And faster than you can get the deck cushions out, we've got dinner on the table!
Light, fresh, and so flavorful - all of our favorite ingredients come together tonight! Fresh pesto, warm grilled chicken (with just a touch of Italian spices), your favorite Italian pasta...it's looking good! I had a pint of fresh and colorful grape tomatoes - so pretty and flavorful. A touch of fresh parmesan cheese and pine nuts, and everyone is happy tonight!
A week ago I was reading our little local paper, and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the story headline "The Joy of Rhubarb"...and the details of a Rhubarb Class to be held in a few days at Uncle John's Home and Garden to discuss rhubarb planting, growing, harvesting and best of all, eating!
Now, anyone that knows me well knows that I LOVE growing, baking and cooking with Rhubarb, and for the past two years I have been on a search to find new varieties of rhubarb plants for our garden, to no avail. Last year it became a quest not unlike the search for the Holy Grail.
And so I immediately called and registered for the class, and could hardly wait to tell Skipper the good news. He happened to be out and about with our son, who is trying to get in as many driving practice hours as he can, as his 16th birthday is roaring up on us! As soon as they got home, Skipper came running in the house to excitedly tell me that they had seen a big sign for a RHUBARB CLASS while they were driving around the countryside. What are the chances? It is fate, I tell you!
Behold the best treat you'll have this week! Warm and fresh Cherry & Almond Crumble Bars...
Sweet cherries make the perfect filling for a chewy and soft oatmeal and almond cookie base. And these are ready for the oven in less than 10 minutes! Don't you love it when something so fabulous doesn't take a lot of time?
For today's trick, we are going to help everyone make up their minds! For every time that I have made a Carrot Cake and a cheesecake, only to have so many people say they don't know which to choose, or "Maybe I could just have a little slice of both?" This is the answer - plain and simple!
Simple and oh so good! Moist carrot cake spiced up just right...blended with swirls of creamy cheesecake. And topped with the lightest cream cheese glaze...we're talking perfection here folks! And the combination of luscious carrot cake and cream cheese? It's out of this world wonderful!
Every holiday it's always a struggle. Old family traditions or brave new introductions? I'd almost forgotten how easy it is to work with frozen bread dough, and I had a wildly excited six-year-old wearing a chef's hat that was BEYOND excited to make his own bread...and so the decision was easily made, and the adventure begun!
And because at our Easter stretches over from EARLY morning egg hunts, church services, thru Easter Brunch and lazily into Easter Dinner, this was perfect for our bunch to munch on!
This Caramel Pecan Praline French Toast Casserole is simple and elegant - and the recipe that I go back to over and over! Perfect for Easter brunch, holiday breakfast gatherings, or just a lazy morning with the family. So sinfully good that it should be outlawed!
The best part is that this can be made the night before and baked the next morning - no jumping out of bed early to get things ready! Now, if only I could sleep a little longer in the morning...
There is definitely starting to be a little Easter buzz going on around our home front! Spring cleaning is almost finished up and our Easter decorations are all in place. This spring has been so warm and sunny that there are even more blooming flowers around the house than usual - my tulips, daffodils and crocus are in full bloom, and even my lilacs are getting ready to make an appearance!
Speaking of lilacs, I've discovered my favorite new cleaning product - Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day in Lilac scent. I've been trying to steer away totally from harsh stinky chemicals in our house, and this stuff is CRAZY good! Aromatherapeutic essential oils and naturally-derived ingredients clean like the dickens and I can't believe how gentle they are on my skin! The scent is just out of this world - I feel like I'm standing in the middle of a lilac bush! The Lilac Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner, Dish Soap and Hand Soap are my definite favorites this spring! I've found the best selection and prices at Target.
And another family favorite is this Ham, Egg & Cheese Strata, which will be making its usual appearance at our Easter brunch.
DANG! If this doesn't get you out of bed in the morning, I'm not sure what will!
Skipper is currently enjoying the Atkins Diet. The rest of us, not at all! It makes for some interesting challenges for this food-blogging Mama, but I've learned to incorporate his protein and meat packed diet into everything that I can! And with the fresh smell of bacon and pints of the most beautiful fresh blueberries sitting before me, inspiration hit!
Some teenagers make midnight runs for burgers & fries, or ice cream - but not mine! They make secret stops for Chinese takeout! And one of their favorites is Chicken Fried Rice!
And if I told you that you can make the absolutely world's best Chicken Fried Rice at home in less than 30 minutes? We're saving gas and having lots of fun in the kitchen to boot!
Happy National Caramel Day! Who knew that was even a thing? We were busy this weekend making this special treat to celebrate today - and after teasing you with the photos, it's time to share the prize!
Now, if you don't like chocolate and caramel, you can just move along. This is serious business! And as our littlest one says, "Can I have some more of that Tiger Tart?" And dang it, when you look at it that way, it does kinda look like a tiger!
HERE COMES THE SUN! Since I was a little girl, one of my favorites at Easter was Sunshine Salad, which was also called California Salad or Ambrosia Salad, depending on who you asked! Easter was the only time of the year that we had this, so it was always a special treat. My sister and brothers loved mandarin oranges as much as I do, and today, our little ones love them too!
Mandarin oranges are a slightly smaller relative of a standard orange - did you know that tangerines and Clementines are both varieties of mandarin oranges? Cuties and Halos are also different types of mandarins depending on what time of year it is. Small, sweet and seedless, we love that these have no seeds and are so easy to peel that even the little ones can do it! And at only 50 calories each and with 2 grams of fiber and half a day's worth of vitamin C and other antioxidants, what's not to love about these little gems?
THE HUNT FOR EASTER RECIPES ENDS HERE!
When you're a little one, there isn't much more exciting than getting ready for the Easter Bunny! And today we may even spend some time in the backyard LOOKING for the bunny...he's got to be around here somewhere!
Starting today we're got so much to do! We've already started Spring cleaning for the bunny (any reason to get everyone involved!) but all the fun is still waiting for us - we've got to decorate for the bunny, dye eggs for the bunny, and especially make some BUNNY CORN for the bunny! Just one of the many family favorites that we make with our little ones for our Easter celebration!
You'll find links to our family-favorite Easter recipes by clicking on the photos above, or head on over to my "HOLIDAYS - EASTER" page for a complete listing of all our favorite Easter holiday foods. Now that it's April, its time to celebrate and there's still plenty of time to plan an easy and relaxing Easter brunch or dinner with some fabulous springtime treats!